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Road Warrior: 13 Bike Commuter Essentials

A lot of people find bike commuting to be a little bit intimidating. Honestly, the sentiment is understandable. Getting in the saddle and navigating traffic is not easy, and neither is finding the right gear to bring along with you. Throw on the wrong pair of shorts or pants and you’ll end up sweaty and miserable by the time you end up at point B. And if you forgot to bring a good lock? Your wheels are sure to be stolen. But how, exactly, can you anticipate these things before they happen?

Our answer to that question is this gear roundup. In our minds, these picks are some of the best out there for bike commuters. Whether you’re more of a casual rider who just pedals around your neighborhood on the weekends, or a hardcore daily biker who does everything from grocery shop to head to work on two wheels – this gear is sure to fit your essential bike commuter needs.

California Crown Commuter Hat

Sometimes you need a little bit more than just a cap when you’re riding around town. When it gets rainy or a little chilly – having a solid, water resistant hat can help keep you warm and protected. This hat from California Crown is designed to do just that. Made with a water repellent nylon shell and bill, it beats back water and keeps your dome dry no matter the weather. And to top it off, it’s made by hand right here in the states.

Purchase: $40

Knog Oi Aluminum Bike Bell

It isn’t hyperbolic to say that being noticed while you’re on your bike is a matter of life and death. So like it or not, it is up to cyclists to get the attention of motorists. Sometimes all it takes to do that is a little bell for your handlebar. This one from Knog has a low profile, minimalist design that doesn’t look goofy, but it still boasts a loud ‘ding’ that’ll get the attention of both pedestrians and motorists.

Purchase: $13

Ass Savers Reflective Fender

Riding in the rain doesn’t have to be the worst thing in the world. If you have the right gear on you – it can actually be pretty fun. One essential for wet weather riding tool is most definitely a fender. This one from the bluntly named Ass Savers can roll up into a small packable cylinder, or fully extend and attach to your frame. For a bit of added visibility, it also comes with reflective detailing throughout.

Purchase: $20

Topeak Micro Rocket Pump

Flats happen. And honestly, they’re never that big of a deal so long as you have the right set of gear in your backpack. One essential we definitely keep on hand when pedaling around town is a hand pump. This one from Topeak is designed to be super low profile and easy to bring with you anywhere while still managing to be hefty enough to fill your tires in a mater of minutes.

Purchase: $23

California Crown Latitude Shirt

So you could definitely deck yourself out in technical apparel in order to ride around, but sometimes a simple cotton tee is the right way to go. This one from California Crown features tortoise shell side vent buttons and a tasteful screen printed graphic. And like their hat, it is also made right here in the U.S.

Purchase: $28

RMK Paracord Quick Release Keychain

So you know that junky keychain you’ve been using for years? The one with the super loose gate and paint that has been rubbed off by your jeans? That isn’t one you’re going to want to throw on your belt loop before riding around the city. A more sturdy option would be something like the RMK paracord quick release keychain. This tough keychain manages to be both incredibly reliable and easy to remove thanks to a magnetic connector.

Purchase: $32

Crank Brothers Multi Bicycle Tool

A lot of very simple problems on a bike can be fixed with a few turns of a hex-wrench. This multi tool from Crank Brothers has just about all of the wrenches you could want packed into one sturdy, easy to carry package. An ideal tool for keeping you on the road.

Purchase: $35

Light and Motion Urban 350 Headlight

Even if your daily ride is well lit by a lot of streetlights, it is important to have a solid headlight attached to your handlebars. Not only will it reveal unseen obstacles in your path but it will help both motorists and pedestrians see you while you’re riding at night. This particular headlight has four modes – one high at 350 lumens, a medium at 150, and a low and pulse at 75. And to top it off, it comes with a 2 year warranty.

Purchase: $50

California Crown Grey Letterman Crew

So long as you’re not trying to beat any Strava records, cycling in the morning or evening can actually be pretty chilly. The wind paired with even mildly cool air can leave your teeth chattering. One way to stay warm is by throwing on a solid windbreaker or something like this grey Letterman crew neck sweater from California Crown. It’s made from a mid-weight fleece, boasts a globe patch on the right arm, and a bold CA right on the chest.

Purchase: $60

Chrome Natoma Short

You don’t have to wear lycra bib shorts in order to stay comfortable on your daily rides. A pair of technical shorts like this one from Chrome straddle the line perfectly between capable and sharp looking. Made with a super durable four-way stretch fabric, boasting double welt pockets, a reinforced seat gusset, and a seamless double layer for the crotch they’re more than capable of taking on the toughest rides.

Purchase: $125

Kryptonite Fahgettaboutdit Mini U Lock

All of this cool gear is for not if you can’t keep your bike out of the hands of thieves. And trust us. There are a lot of knuckle-draggers out there who are more than happy to snatch your bike as soon as you look the other way. One great way to keep it safe is by using something like Kryptonite’s super hefty Fahgettaboudit mini U-Lock. It’s made from 18mm hardened MAX- Performance steel and has an oversized hardened steel sleeve over the crossbar for security. All things said, it’s not a bad self-defense weapon either.

Purchase: $76

Giro Code VR70 Shoes

Somewhat counter-intuitively, some of the best shoes for riding around the city as a commuter are mountain-biking shoes. This pair from Giro, for instance, features an outsole from Vibram – making it so you can clip out and walk your bike into the office without clop-clop-clopping your way into the office on your shoes. More than just boasting solid lugs, the shoe has a ratchet closure, a comfortable SuperNatural Fit Kit footbed, and a carbon fiber sole.

Purchase: $120

Mission Workshop Vandal

If you’re a bike-commuter, your bag has to be more substantial and tough than average. It has to stand up to the rain, heat from the sun, and a lot of abuse from being slid on and off everyday. Thankfully the Vandal pack from Mission Workshop is more than up to the challenge. The bag is made from waterproof materials, boasts a carbon fiber reinforced internal suspension system, and can fit a 15-inch laptop with ease. And that’s honestly not even half of what this American made bag can do.

Purchase: $325